KARACHI: The Sindh Cabinet on Monday approved new agriculture, youth polices and establishment of two new universities — Shaikha Ayaz University at Shikarpur and Begum Nusrat Bhutto Women University Sukkur.
The agriculture policy was presented in the cabinet which, in addition to consultation with farmers and stakeholders, is complemented by a series of background studies in the areas of macroeconomic factors, poverty and gender, climate change, value chain enhancement, resource efficiency, nutrition and fiscal space utilization.
“Various legal, regulator, institutional and expenditure-related changes set out in the policy would be implemented over a period of two years, 2018-19 to 2019-20,” the cabinet chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah was told.
Syed Murad Ali Shah sharing some facts with the cabinet said that in terms of agriculture, Sindh accounts for 18 percent of the country’s land area, 16 percent of its total cropped area, and contributes about 23 percent to national agriculture value added.
He said that the sector had not performed to its potential. He added that output was low in 2015/16 which led agricultural growth to negative for the first time in the country.
CM Murad said that more critically, what little growth had occurred was the result of more land, water and input, higher livestock numbers or greater fishing effort.
“Such an input-based pattern of growth is not sustainable. For instance, it was estimated that by 2025 the water requirements for agriculture would increase by about 50 percent if the current irrigation practices continue,” he said.
“In coming years, enhanced productivity has to take over as the principal engine of growth,” he said.
Minister Home & agriculture Sohail Siyal gave details of the action point under the new agriculture policy. They are as follows:
- To increase credit flows into crop, livestock and fisheries and for associated rural off-farm activities, including development t of new instruments such as warehouse receipts and building linkages formal and informal sources of credit.
- To simplify the procedure for land use, land transfer and lease for establishment of rural enterprise.
- To reform the legal and regulatory system governing agriculture and livestock marketing and to redesign the price support system.
- To improve legislation, regulations, labelling and quality oversight in the market for inputs, particularly for seed, fertilisers, pesticides, animal feed and veterinary medicines, as well as for certification system for organic crop, livestock and fisheries products.
- To attract investors, both domestic and foreign, to rural areas through fiscal incentives; a better legal/regulatory environment for commercial farming, cold chain and agro-based industry and to promote export of high value food production.
- To review and reallocate government expenditure on agriculture as well as of direct and indirect subsidies.
- To restructure, right size and rationalize concerned government departments to be made `fit for purpose’ avoiding duplication of efforts with improved conditions.
- To reform the public research and extension system for crops, horticulture, livestock and fisheries, particularly their governance mechanism.
The cabinet, particularly Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro emphasized on the need of giving more subsidies to the agriculture sector. The cabinet after thorough discussion approved the new agriculture policy.
The Sindh Youth Policy is the central tool to systematically integrate, implement and evaluate all youth development work in the province. It aims at building a youth who are economically sound, socially progressive and politically engaged and who possess appropriate skills and values of good citizens.
Like agriculture policy it has been formed in consultation with all stakeholders, experts and academicians.
The highlights of the youth policy include establishment of a youth development commission, establishment of district structure of youth affairs department, centralized information system on youth development and job data base, formation of job bank, establishment of Institute Placement Bureaus through IT interface, establishment of youth venture capital fund, annual innovation competitions and formation of small incubation centers at the universities, entrepreneurship training at universities by private sector, crash programme of technical education, research and mapping studies on youth, youth-led mass awareness campaign, devise models of elected student councils, expose trips, reactivation of students union, establishment of artisan support programme and reactivation of boys and girls guides at school.
The cabinet discussed various aspects of the policy and approved it.
The cabinet also decided upgradation of Shikarpur Campus of Shah Abdul Latif University as full-fledged university. The new university has been named after the name of Shaikh Ayaz, a renowned poet and educationist from Shikarpur. The cabinet approved the draft of Shaikh Ayaz University, Shikarpur Act, 2018 and referred to the Sindh assembly for further approval.
The cabinet also approved to establish Begum Nusrat Bhutto Women University draft Bill, 2018. The university is being established for Rs2710.6 million at Sukkur. The land for the university has been donated near Arts Council, Sukkur and its compound wall has been constructed.
The construction work is in progress and its vice chancellor, Ms Parveen Munshi has been appointed to look after the establishment work. The approved draft bill has been referred to Sindh assembly.
The cabinet approved appointment of Ayaz Hussain Tunio as new prosecutor general. In the last cabinet meeting Fiazul Hassan was appointed but his notification was stopped as his age was short of the required age of 45 years.
The law department had proposed three names, Ayaz Hussain Tunio, Qurban Ali Malano and Hakim Ali Shaikh. The cabinet approved the appointment of Ayaz Tunio.
REPATRIATION/NOMINATION OF JUDICIAL OFFICER
The cabinet on the recommendation of chief justice of Sindh High Court repatriated Mushtaq Ahmed Kalwar, District & Sessions Judge, presently working as Presiding Offier, Sindh Labour Court No.VI, Hyderabad and approved nomination of Abrar Hussain F Memon, District & Sessions Judge, Presently working as Presiding officer, Sindh Labour Court No. VIII, Larkana in place of Mushtaq Ahmed Kalwar.
The cabinet requested the chief justice of Sindh High Court to nominate a Presiding Officer for Sindh Labour Court No.VIII, Larkana, seat which has fallen vacant.
REGULARISATION OF NTS PASSED TEACHERS
The Sindh Assembly passed a bill regarding regularization of the NTS passed teachers appointed on contract basis and sent the summary to the Sindh governor on February 26, 2018 for his assent.
The governor returned the bill with the observations that the contractual appointments of teachers under policy of 2008/12 were made to address the issue on non-availability of teachers at union council/taluka levels. These appointments were thus made area specific. The passage of the bill categorically kills the spirit of the policy which was meant to revive the teacher-deprived schools of far flung areas in Sindh.
The cabinet after addressing the observations made by the governor referred the bills back to the assembly to pass it again.
The cabinet decided that the teachers transfer/posting would be made in such a way that no school would remain deprived of a teacher.
PILOT PROJECT OF 10 BUSES
The transport department moved an item for approval of the cabinet regarding fare slab for operation of AC buses on intracity routes in the city. Transport Minister Syed Nasir Shah told the cabinet that the fare had been proposed in consultation with all the stakeholders at Rs20 for less than five kilometers, Rs30 for five to 15 kilometers and Rs40 for 15 and above kilometers.
These 10 buses would ply on the route via Quaidabad, Malir, Star Gate, Shahrah-e-Faisal, Shah Faisal Colony, Natha Khan, Drigh Road, PAF Gate, Karsaz, Baloch Colony, Nursery, Jinnah Hospital, Metropole Hotel, Fawwara Chowk, Arts Council, I.I Chundrigar Road upto Merewether Tower. The cabinet approved the fare slab and urged the minister to start the buses.
The cabinet also made some amendments in the Sindh Sports Board. Earlier, it was headed by the bovernor and now it would be chaired by the Chief Minister while the minister sports would be its vice chairman.
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